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about the life of rifle brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JohnhenrySTL, Sep 7, 2014.

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  1. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    I am still a fairly new handloader, today as I was trimming .308 brass, I was wondering how do I determine when brass is worn out?
     
  2. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    Necks will split or the primer pockets will get loose. I like to use a hand primer to feel the primer seat. As long as you are sizing it correctly, and not loading it too hot, it should last quite a while.
     
  3. LAGS

    LAGS Member

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    I am ready to retire the last 15 casings from a box of Noma 7.62x54 R that I bought for my originam Mosin Nagant back in 1976.
    The cases have been loaded at least 40 times, and the primer pockets are just starting to get loose.
    The 5 cases that I am short were lost by a friend when I loaned him the rifle.
    I started off loading the first 10 cases in the box , and to designate them from the second 10, I made two small punch marks in the head of the case by the stamping.
    When I loaded those cases 20 times, I started using the second 10.
    Well when they also reached 20 reloadings, I just said what the heck and just kept reloading them with sort of light loads with 123 gr bullets.
    I have loading data that shows at least 20 loadings with the 123 gr bullets, and some loading with Cast bullets.
    The first 20 reloads on the cases were done with a Lee Classic reloader, ( Wack A Mole ) so the brass was never overworked, and was only fired in the one rifle.

    Moral of the story.
    Shoot Medium loads, Shoot it only in one rifle, and Neck size Only thru the life of the case.
    These things will greatly extend the life of your cases.
     
  4. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    Thank you. So you have too have necks split from firing? And it didn't put up red flags for your loading?
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  6. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    When you resize the neck to create enough tension to hold a bullet, you're working the brass. When the cartridge fires and the bullet is released, the neck expands and then shrinks back a bit as it cools - this also works the brass.

    The constant working will cause the brass to become brittle and cracks are inevitable ... and natural. The minimum required resizing to do the job will extend the life of the brass as can annealing.

    /Bryan
     
  7. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    Although my loads have worked well so far, I need to buy a Wilson gauge. I need to learn more about headspace. Can I measure it with a standard caliper? My .308s all measured close to 2.025 inches after being resized today. That meant I needed to trim off about 2 hundreds. This seems to be my standard trimming. I wondered how thin my cases are.

    Thanks for pointing out that thread R.C. I need to study it step by step and acquire one of those wire tools.

    I just now now re-learned how to start a thread. I have lots of curiosities.
    How dangerous is a case either bought or accidently trimmed too short? Some of my cases today were trimmed 2 thousands of a inch below the min. trim length. I have measured brand new unfired brass at 6 or 7 thousands of a inch below 2.005.

    When charging cases for rifles, I always wonder, how much would my zero vary between say 43.3 -43.6 grains of I.M.R. 4064. Would a 3 thousands of an inch in O.A.L. effect shooting soda cans at 400 yards?

    Most importantly, if I intend on sticking around 168 and 165 grain for hunting and shooting that matters, if If all I am able to obtain is 150 grain, how far apart would the bullets land at 100 yards? Do you guys make shooting adjustments or actually turn dials on your scope.

    I have read the Lee book 3 times. I promise. I do not shoot competition, but I care. Please forgive my multi questions. I am just trying to figure out how to utilize my time. My first rifle reloads for my .308, resulted in holes touching holes at 200 yards.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You don't need to 'acquire' anything, if you can steal a big paper-clip at work.
    Or already have a small wire clothes hanger at home?

    And own, or can borrow a pair of pliers to bend an L on the end of it!

    That is all it takes to feel the stretch ring.

    You don't need to buy no Steenk'n special tool if you can come up with a free piece of wire of some kind, and a way to bend an L on the end.

    rc
     
  9. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    I have wire. But that looked like a dental tool. Thanks again.
     
  10. LAGS

    LAGS Member

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    RC is correct about checking for Case Stretching .
    But the 7.62x54R that I was shooting, is a rimmed case, and it headspaces on the rim.
    And once it is fire formed to that Chamber, and only the neck is resized, the shoulder is not pushed back when resizing.
    Then it too is headspacing on the shoulder as well if only neck sized.
    The necks did need trimming along the way, and the cases seem to be thinner than a new case, so Yes, there is damage being done every time you fire it.
    But in my case, it was minimal , because the case was only fired in the one chamber it's whole life.
    But different things come into play for a Rimless Case, and they do not last as lomg as a properly cared for Rimmed Case.
    I have found that the only thing that an overtrimmed case effects is the crimp or neck tension. The case will grow back after for or five more firings, LOL
    Crimp or neck tension can effect accuracy between shots, as all your cases need to be the same for consistant ballistics when being fired.
     
  11. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    I do not crimp cases for my bolt actions. My neck tension seems consistent with my Lee die. I measure the length before and after pushing the bullet up against my bench. I do crimp for my semi automatic .308.
     
  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Without annealing, just necking, and loading standard pressure jacketed loads, you should be able to get about 10-12 loads from most 50K - 60K bottle neck cartridges. This is provided you only bump the shoulders when needed, and then only as much as necessary to fit the chamber.

    Now, if you anneal, neck size, and, or use a collet die, you can extend case life considerably, 20-25 loads or more depending.

    As for checking brass for expiration, RC covered that with the paper clip. And like RC said, you don't need no stinking tool for checking internal integrity. I have been loading for over 30 yrs. with nothing but a paper clip fashioned to feel for thinning.

    GS
     
  13. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    I used a Redding Die at first and only messed with neck sizing. I found it very hard to deal with. The directions were very difficult and my rounds never chambered with the ease that I enjoy. I since then have bought the three piece Lee set with the crimping die. For my A.R. and overall reloading experience I will stick with Lee.

    Thanks again all.
     
  14. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    That says it pretty well. Sizing work hardens the brass so annealing will probably double the case life. If you anneal every 5th or 6th loading that would be just about perfect.
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know what its purpose was before, but when I spotted it in the "they're getting rid of it" box, I knew what it was going to be from then on. :)
     
  16. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    I converted a paper clip and felt the inside of my brass. Thanks fellows.
     
  17. edfardos

    edfardos Member

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    Take a hack saw to an old case and look for the ring, just to get an idea how thin it gets there. Its surprising.
     
  18. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Good tip edfardos, I sawed one in half many years ago so I could get an idea of what to feel for with the paper clip.

    GS
     
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